Contemporary Lithuanian opera To the Lighthouse was inspired by one of the most lucid pieces of writing, an eponymous novel by modernist author Virginia Woolf. The work has brought together a few talented artists: stage director Loreta Vaskova, the winner of the four Golden Stage Crosses (highest theatrical award in Lithuania), composer Rita Mačiliūnaitė, and playwright Gabrielė Labanauskaitė. Each of them approached Woolf‘s novel from personal perspective, but eventually, they have combined their insights together. This process resulted in a thoughtful opera with distinctive tempo, retaining the musicality of Woolf‘s text and storyline.
The storyline of the opera evolves in Ramsays‘ summer cottage located on an island. Here, the family and their guests spend their vacations, filling in their time with everyday activities and conversations. The space of the opera is permeated by marine climate and waiting. The characters are planning to go by boat to a lighthouse on the other shore, so they keep waiting for good weather. Their waiting anxiety flows as an underwater stream upon the peaceful surface of holiday sea.
I was writing the libretto in our port city Klaipėda and in Venice, so there was always plenty of water around. Woolf’s novel, which has served as the basis for creating or rewriting the text, is also fluid, just like the unconscious flow expressing the hopes, expectations and wishes of the charactersAuthor of the libretto Gabrielė Labanauskaitė
The sound expression of the summer atmosphere, the maritime climate, and the infinite waiting – that is how I describe this opera of mine. It is dedicated not only for holidaymakers, whose pace of living is dictated by the weather, but also for those who are not afraid to separate themselves from the outside world, dive into the sounds of the sea, lighthouse and books, and musically experience the mannerism, longing, naivety, and love.Composer Rita Mačiliūnaitė
As for the very piece of work by Virginia Woolf, many literary scholars call it one of the writer‘s brightest novels. What else could be more relevant than our own personal life, which, in this chamber opera, equates to that constant desire to get moving towards the lighthouse?Director Loreta Vaskova
Human lives are filled with waiting.
Human lives consist of small individual moments that are experienced one after another, but ultimately swing into a powerful wave that sweeps us back to the shore.
The Ramsey family are planning a boat trip to the lighthouse, however, this pleasant journey is continually delayed by bad weather, so they have to stay home going about their businesses. Mr. Ramsey is involved in lengthy discussions with doctoral student Charles Tansley, Mrs. Ramsey is trying to match Tansley with unmarried painter Lily, son James is playing with toy ships, while housekeeper Mrs. McNab is preparing supper.
Act two takes place ten years later. Mrs. Ramsey had died, and James has grown up. They all gather once again to take a boat trip to the lighthouse, to commemorate on the anniversary of Mrs. Ramsey’s death. The son is trying to persuade Lily to complete the mother’s portrait begun long ago and eventually Lily agrees. Like before, Mr. Ramsey, although heartbroken, continues arguing with Tansley about the meaning of life and creation. Interesting, will they manage to reach the lighthouse this time?